All the elephants arrayed. Not quite enough yet for a whole army, but getting there!

Well, I’ve got some Gauls and some pikemen on my painting desk and the Gauls are all but done now (I think I started them this time last year!), but three elements of elephants jumped the queue. They are quicker to do and allow me to field a number of successor armies straight away. This made them more inviting as I got back into painting after a couple of months’ break. In the process of doing them I got the Gauls nearly done too.

The Seleucid elephant, now with skirmisher support, faces off against the Ptolemaic one.

Along with the three elephants (two early successor and one Ptolemaic), I did four archers as skirmisher support. I added one onto the base of the Seleucid elephant I’d done earlier, as particularly in the later period they deployed the elephants with a lot of surrounding skirmishers.

The Ptolemaic elephant; it is an African one and smaller than the Asian ones. Note the goad that I made for the mahout.

The figures are all Freikorp and I think their elephants are excellent. They are easy to assemble, well animated and their seems to be (to my inexpert eye) a distinction between the African and Asian ones. The Ptolemaic elephant is smaller and has different ears. As these figures don’t come with goads for the mahouts I made them using the ends of lead spears that I’d cut down for javelins. I flatten the end, cut a split in it and bent one side into a hook and gently filed the two end to points. The hooks are perhaps bigger than they should be, but they look the part and were quick and easy to make.

From the other side with its skirmisher support.

The Ptolemaic elephant will also be used as a Pyrrhic one, meaning that with the xystophoroi that I did a while back I can now field the early Ptolemaic and the Pyrrhic armies.

Early Successor elephants ready to go against each other (when I get more pike painted!

The pair of early successor elephants, without towers, allow me to field a number of the armies starting with Alexander, though I need to get some unshielded cavalry to be fully accurate. They allow fights between successor armies (when I get more pikemen painted) and me to field the earliest Seleucid army with two elephants.

The two elephants ready to serve in the early Seleucid army.

From another angle.

And yet another.

Getting these guys to sit on the elephants provided a bit of drama. When my first attempt failed I tried araldite, which is too slow to set, then pinning, which was a travesty. Finally I tried again with super glue and it was quite straight forward, but if you look at the mahout on the blue elephant you’ll see his slightly grey beard and a mark on his chest reveal the scars of this exercise!

Next up, when I get time, will be the Gauls, who allow me to field the Gauls, the Carthaginians and the Syracusans all at the same time. Then I’ll either buckle down to doing seven stands of pike, or I’ll do some smaller projects, such as a 4Bd for the later Seleucids, and some of the cavalry for that ‘d’ list (who can be used for the Mithridatic one too).


17 July, 2011

Ptolemaic Xystophoroi.

I’ve completed two elements of Xystophoroi. They are Freikorp figures with spears from Xyston. They are for a Ptolemaic army; however, they can be used for quite a number of other armies. I’m close to being able to field a whole swathe of successor and Hellenistic armies, though not in opposition to each other. The biggest hold-up is two more elements of elephant. One is an Early Successor one with a pikeman sitting on its back. The other is an unarmoured one with a tower. The first of these would allow me to do a whole range of early successor armies, the other would be for the Ptolemaic army and for a Pyrrhic one. Otherwise, there’s a lack of pikes. My next project may be about seven elements of pikes to allow opposing pike blocks (one of these would be a command element for Antigonus Monophthalmus).

From another angle.

I have two elements of 3Cv ready to go too, but they are waiting for decals on their shields (which are in the post). These are for the Syracusans, but can be used by a number of other armies, though I’m not sure when shields started to be used, making them less useful for some of the earlier armies.

I’ve updated my armies page with a list of all the new armies I should soon be able to field!

From the rear.

Otherwise, I darkened my Seleucid elephant a while ago; it was much lighter than the two Carthaginian ones, so I gave it a drybrush with a darker grey, which I think improves it.

A more tanned Seleucid elephant.

The week before the Christchurch Wargames Club DBA competition I got back from my travels without my family (who stayed in Korea for 10 more days). As John is now working not far from me we took the opportunity to have a couple of games at my house after he finished work. These were a workout for the Carthaginians, who were still seeking their first win after seven games. To this end we chose to recreate some pike armies for the Carthaginians to face; this involved pressing some Saxon fyrd into service as pikemen and rounding up the usual suspects of knights, Irish and a giant to fill out the rest of the army. In the first battle, we recreated the army of Antipater,  the man left in charge of Europe when Alexander went east. This has a 3Kn commander, a 3Cv, six 4Pk, a 4Ax, an El and two 2Ps. As mentioned these were played by Saxons, Irish, Normans and a giant.

One can imagine that Hasdrubal was still at sea, and had come across a very odd collection of men, one for which I’ll forbear to attempt a rational! He was the attacker (from memory), but Pseudo-Antipater chose to play a waterway, a road, two hills, one steep and the other gentle, and a large wood.

Hasdrubal got to face the enemy with the waterway to their back, but he was too cautious to try a littoral landing. The Saxon ‘phalanx’ was split between either side of the giant, and had only one rear element between two front ones, an experiment to increase their frontage.  On the steep hill were the Irish, while the cavalry was kept in reserve.

Initial Deployments: Antipater on the left and Hasdrubal on the right. One Saxon element appears back from the road, owing to its unfortunate habit of upending the narrow base!

Hasdrubal went for only one elephant, and took some Gallic mercenary cavalry along with two psloi and two warbands as his other options. He deployed with his warbands and Spanish facing the Irish and his spear and Numidians on the right flank. In the centre was his cavalry and elephant.

Initial contact was made on the left flank, where the Irish attacked with the advantage of higher ground. In this encounter the bonnachts were recoiled by the Gallic warband.

Recoil and follow up by the Gauls.

The Spanish then moved in to give flanking support, but even with this the Gauls were forced back by some kerns. The other Gauls got a stick, but were now in a fairly unenviable position, far forward wtihout suppport.

Gauls fail to dislodge doughty kerns.

At this point the Gauls on the hill ran out of steam and were rolled over by the bonnachts. This flank was now effectively a stalemate, with neither side having enough to make progress, but it was a situation that definitely suited Anipater more than Hasdrubal.

The rash advance of the Gauls finally comes to grief. Note how the Carthaginian elephant has skilfully advanced in front of his spear!

There then ensued a bit of skirmishing; the Numidians made a run for the opposition camp, but were rebuffed; in fact they were put to flight, which got them back to where they could harass the opponent’s rear. The elephant, facing pike recoiled over some of his spear—oops.


The elephant has backed over his spear, and the Numidians have fled from the camp, close to the enemy's rear.

Hasdrubal then set to trying personally to destroy an element of pike. Yet despite Numidians to the rear he failed. At this point, annoyed at the failure of the dice to let a single combat that mattered go in my favour, I stopped taking photos! At this point, over a week later and with no photos to remind me, I’m not sure how the end came for the Carthaginians, but after two promising starts on each flank had failed the Carthaginians were becoming despondent (and jetlag was also working against them!. They’d had the advantage in each of the combats, but failed: 3-2 against the kerns and 4-3 against the pike, each with support on the flank or in the rear.

So this battle trailed off to become the Carthaginians eighth consecutive defeat (not counting the solo game). By now I was really beginning to despair of the Carthaginians, as although I had made plenty of mistakes, I was having no luck with the dice; perhaps I should have gone with the Gauls, who seem to win despite my generalship! However, to blame the dice for my defeat is detract from John’s generalship; he did not allow me the luxury of recovering from my mistakes or unlucky combats.